Branson is the second Brit titan to announce an iPad-based publication in November. News Corp. (NWS) owner Rupert Murdoch unveiled plans for an iPad-based newspaper, to be called The Daily, which will cost the owner of The Wall Street Journal and Fox News as much as $30 million. The Daily will have a dedicated staff of 100 and Murdoch has been on a hiring spree of brand-name journalists around the U.S. and the Big Apple in particular. The Daily will launch next year.
Branson's new magazine will draw primarily on entertainment, design, business, travel and international culture. The venture will be led by Branson's 29-year-old daughter Holly. Anthony Noguera, a former editor of Zoo and FHM, will take charge of editorial operations. Both publications will likely embed video and use other multi-media technologies that are of course absent in dead tree editions.
Should Branson and Murdoch show that an iPad magazine can truly scale and drive real advertising dollars, expect a gold rush of iPad apps from media companies seeking that golden mean between the high but hard to justify advertising rates of print and broadcast and the unsustainably low online advertising rates for most Internet publications.